8 Tips on how to cope with exam stress
‘I was probably more scared of my high school exams than I was of the Oscars. At the time you think it’s everything and if you don’t do well, your life’s over. Opportunities are gone. So the more you do it, the less fear is present.’ – Hugh Jackman
Like most stressful situations, exam stress stems from feeling out of control. There are many measures you can take to overcome that fear of failure and take charge of the situation. Here are a few simple tips:
1. Make a Plan: Irrespective of whether you study ahead of time or you are a last minute learner, make a plan for the time you have left before an exam. Regardless of whether you have a week or a day left, make a rough plan of how much you need to cover, divide your time between each lesson, plot the resources you need, decide if a particular topic needs extra time, etc. This will give you a sense of purpose.
2. Eat Well: You may be tempted to eat junk food while studying for exams, primarily because of the ease of access and the need for a quick fix. However, your body will respond better to a stressful situation if it has been well fed and your mind is likely to be more alert. If there is no time to cook sumptuous meals, introduce examinationS fresh fruit into your diet.
3. Drink Water: Water is one of the most important elements of everyday life and even more essential when your body is dealing with copious amounts of stress. Keep hydrated and carry a water bottle into the exam with you.
4. Taking Breaks: Your mind and body will crumble under the adverse effects of stress if you don’t give them a break. Step away from your books/ computer every few hours, even if it’s just a walk to the next room. Ten minutes of down time make a world of difference when you are learning for a test.
5. Visual Techniques: One of the simplest ways to to control a situation is to envision the best outcome that you want. Close your eyes for a few minutes and imagine yourself writing your exam without being nervous. You can imagine that you have walked out happy with the effort you put in and finally visualise yourself getting a good result.
6. Avoid Stimulants: While caffeine might temporarily make you feel more alert, the adverse effect lasts much longer. Avoid the caffeine crash – drink water, walk around or eat an apple instead.
7. Organise: Make sure you have everything you need for the exam: stationery, identity ticket, watch, etc., so as to eliminate any last minute stress about forgetting anything on your way out. If you can, pack your bag the night before an exam.
8. Reward Yourself: Exams can be stressful but they are an integral part of student life, so take the time to reward yourself for the hard work you are putting in. Whether it is chocolate or watching a TV show, talking to a friend or going out for dinner, reward yourself for trying as hard as you possibly can.
Exams always bring pressure but as long as you give it your best, remember to breathe deep and have a plan, you will be able to lessen if not eliminate the stress.